Ask a Doctor: Is there a problem with sleeping too much?

2014-01-13T17:30:00Z Ask a Doctor: Is there a problem with sleeping too much?Dr. J. Stephen Snoke, For The Sentinel The Sentinel
January 13, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

Holy Spirit Health System staff answer questions posed to them by you, the reader. If you have a question you want answered, email with your question, a name you’d like to go by and where you’re from.

Is there a problem with sleeping too much, or getting 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day? — Sleeper in Carlisle

The amount of sleep you should get may change throughout your lifetime and can depend on your age, your activity level and your general health. However, it is typically recommended that adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

Not only are there adverse health effects to getting too little sleep, research has also found that oversleeping is linked to several medical problems, including diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity and depression. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the same results when examining people aged 45 and older. The CDC’s sleep study defined too much sleep as 10 hours or more.

If you typically average more than eight hours of sleep per night, talk to your doctor to see if there is a medical reason for why you oversleep. You may have a sleeping disorder like hypersomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, or another type of medical concern that is causing your body to need more sleep.

What is the difference among the hepatitis diagnoses? — Curious in Carlisle

Hepatitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation of the liver. There are six types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis A, B and C are the most common. While there are differences to the types of hepatitis, they all have fairly similar symptoms, including fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark urine and yellowing of the eyes and skin. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your physician to see if you should get tested for hepatitis.

Hepatitis A is a very contagious liver infection that affects the liver’s ability to function. This infection can be passed by contaminated food or water or from contact with someone who has it. There is no treatment for Hepatitis A, but the liver heals completely on its own without permanent damage in about one to two months.

Hepatitis B is a very serious liver infection that can become chronic, leading to liver failure, liver cancer and permanent scarring on the liver (making it hard for your liver to function). Most adults who have Hepatitis B typically have acute Hepatitis B and recover on their own in about six months. Infants and children are more likely to develop chronic Hepatitis B. Antiviral medication can help slow the virus’s ability to damage the liver. However, a liver transplant may be needed if the liver becomes severely damaged. The most common ways in which Hepatitis B is transmitted is through sexual contact with an infected partner, sharing of needles and syringes or accidental needle sticks of health care workers (if the needles or syringes are contaminated with infected blood), or from an infected mother who passes it to her baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis C is an infection that attacks the liver, leading to inflammation. Typically, Hepatitis C doesn’t cause any symptoms until decades later, when the liver is damaged. It’s one of the most serious types of hepatitis because the infection causes serious complications over several years, including scarring of the liver tissue, liver cancer and liver failure. The most common way to contract Hepatitis C is through sharing needles for illegal drug use, but it is also passed through accidental needle sticks of health care workers. Antiviral medications may be recommended to treat the virus, but a liver transplant may be needed if the liver has been extremely damaged.

Is electroshock therapy still dangerous? — Looking at treatments in Harrisburg

Electroshock therapy, also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), is a procedure that sends electrical currents through the brain to cause a brief seizure. The electrical shock changes the chemistry of the brain, which has been found to reverse the symptoms of specific mental health conditions, including severe depression, severe mania (a symptom that can occur in people with bipolar disorder) and dementia. Electroshock therapy is typically used when other forms of treatment have not worked.

Electroshock therapy was once used in high doses without anesthesia and caused many serious side effects like memory loss and broken bones. Today, it is used in a controlled setting with general anesthesia and is much safer to use. This type of therapy may cause some side effects like confusion, headache and vomiting, but it is a generally considered a safe form of treatment.

Answers provided by Dr. J. Stephen Snoke of Snoke Family Health Center in Camp Hill.

This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.

Copyright 2015 The Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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